Ellis' funeral will take place in Illinois, his home state, with a public viewing scheduled to be on July 21 from 6-9 p.m. at AR Leak and Son's Funeral Home.
Nelsan Ellis was born in Harvey, Illinois. He went to Thorn Ridge High School in Dolton, before going on to Oxford University and Columbia College in Chicago. Later, he would go on to graduate from the famed Juilliard School.
He was was most well known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in HBO's vampire drama True Blood, but Ellis also appeared in numerous other movies and television shows, including The Soloist, The Butler, Get on Up and Elementary.
Ellis' manager Emily Gerson Saines broke the sad news of his passing last week, saying, "Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure. He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed."
In light of his passing, Nelsan's family released a statement to shed light on the seriousness of substance abuse. His relatives explain that Nelsan underwent several "stints in rehab," and he was trying to withdraw from alcohol on his own.
If there is a silver lining to Nelsan's tragic death, the Ellis family can rest assured that they have brought awareness to the issues of alcoholism and the effects that come with withdrawing.
Ellis Family Releases A Statement About His Drug/Alcohol Issues
"Nelsan's father has bravely agreed for me to share the circumstances of Nelsan's heart failure. Nelsan has suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years. After many stints in rehab, Nelsan attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own. According to his father, during his withdrawal from alcohol he had a blood infection, his kidneys shut down, his liver was swollen, his blood pressure plummeted, and his dear sweet heart raced out of control.
"On the morning of Saturday, July 8th, after four days in Woodhull Hospital, Nelsan was pronounced dead. Nelsan was a gentle, generous and kind soul. He was a father, a son, a grandson, a brother, a nephew, and a great friend to those that were lucky enough to know him. Nelsan was ashamed of his addiction and thus was reluctant to talk about it during his life. His family, however, believes that in death he would want his life to serve as a cautionary tale in an attempt to help others."
While Nelsan was "reluctant" to discuss his addiction problems during his life, his family is using his tragic story to make a positive impact the lives of others. Judging by the take on Twitter, the family has already made an extraordinary difference by shedding light on alcohol withdrawal and the complications that can arise from it.prevnext
True Blood Stars React To Nelsan Ellis' Death
The show's main star, Anna Paquin, wrote, "It was an utter privilege to work with the phenomenally talented and deeply kind soul .@OfficialNelsan I'm devastated by his untimely death."
Stephen Moyer also commented, tweeting out, "Nelsan Ellis was truly remarkable. A brilliant, charismatic, intelligent, soulful, wonderful dude. This is just completely tragic."
Joe Manganiello, who played Alcide Herveaux on the HBO series, wrote, "Crushed today by the loss of my friend and castmate Nelsan Ellis. He was a wonderful person, a pioneer, and a one of a kind artist. RIP."
Crushed today by the loss of my friend and castmate Nelsan Ellis. He was a wonderful person, a pioneer, and a one of a kind artist. RIP pic.twitter.com/fvtquhIac7— Joe Manganiello (@JoeManganiello) July 8, 2017
True Blood Stars React To Nelsan Ellis' Death (Cont.)
Sam Trammell, who shared a significant amount of screen time with Ellis on the show, tweeted out, "I don't know if I've ever seen the level of humility and kindness that came with the Magnificent Talent that Nelsan Ellis had. Miss u friend."
Anna Camp who played religious zealot Sarah Newlin on True Blood, poured her heart out about her fallen co-star.
"My heart is broken today over the loss of @OfficialNelsan I was in complete awe of your talent and so honored to have known your kindness."
My heart is broken today over the loss of @OfficialNelsan I was in complete awe of your talent and so honored to have known your kindness.— Anna Camp (@TheRealAnnaCamp) July 8, 2017
"Very disturbed and sad that Nelsan Ellis has died. Such a huge talent. Such a wonderful man. The world is a poorer place today...," wrote Denis O'Hare, True Blood's Russell Edgington.
HBO also released a statement about Nelsan's death: "We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis. Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of True Blood. Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO."prev